AN:/ This chapter and I are not friends and real life is a very big pain at the moment. That aside:
I'm so, so sorry!
I won't abandon the story and just to show that I haven't fallen of the face of the Earth, here's the next chapter even if it's not like I had planned. More info on that at the end of the chapter.
Thank you to all of the people who read and review this story, you guy are awesome!
Thank you to my lovely beta who has been my sounding board and tried to keep my sanity intact! Cheers for Beau2809!
Prediction chapter 13
The next day Harry, went down to breakfast just as Ron started to crawl out of bed.
"Harry mate, you've heard of sleeping in right?" Ron mumbled into his pillow before he turned and grinned at Harry with one eye blearily squinted at him. Harry snorted and chucked a pillow at Ron.
"Yeah I've heard of it, never understood the concept entirely." Harry teased back, happy that things were more normal between them again.
Down in the Great Hall Harry was the first down, apart from Daphne. She waved him over with a smile as she stifled a yawn behind a hand. As there were so few students in the castle, the normal seating arrangement still hadn't returned so the round table from Christmas day was still placed in the middle of the hall. The Christmas tree's twinkling candle lights made the normally grey hall cheerful and warm. At the different special feasts it was always more colourful, but otherwise the dominating colours were from the grey stone walls and floors as well as the dark wood of the benches and tables. The ceiling could of course break this up with good weather, but during the winter months grey nearly always dominated the room.
Daphne tugged Harry down as he neared her.
"Jessica sent me catalogues from the muggle world with their swimwear. I thought it was a joke at first, after all she seems to be the joker of the two rascals?" Daphne looked at Harry with slightly narrowed eyes. Harry nodded and smiled.
"Muggle swimwear covers less skin, but I'm not a good judge in the matter. Penelope Clearwater is a seventh year prefect, perhaps she could tell you more about it?" Harry suggested to Daphne, who nodded with her eyebrows slightly pushed together.
"I'll ask her after the holidays." She confirmed and continued eating her porridge. They settled into eating their breakfast in a comfortable silence. It was broken by a few morning owls, who didn't keep with the human conventions of sleeping in on school holidays. Harry gave Hedwig a piece of bacon as she hooted at him from his shoulder. He made sure that his fingers were clean and then preened her after she head butted him in a suggestion to hurry up. Harry grinned at Daphne who was valiantly trying not to laugh at Harry and Hedwig's interactions.
Daphne meanwhile, Harry noted, was trying to untie the paper she had received. She gave up and cut it with a well-aimed cutting charm. As she unwrapped the paper Harry give a silent blessing that there were only the two of them in the hall, apart from a few of the teachers.
The front page of the paper featured a picture of the rat man also known as Peter Pettigrew. Other pictures were of Sirius Black with the caption of "innocent!" as well as a picture of Harry sitting in the stands. Harry was glad that it wasn't a picture during the moments he had had tears in his eyes. Daphne glanced at Harry.
"You look stoic, don't worry about it." Daphne smiled at him.
"It's just a bit weird having your picture on the front page." Harry offered back as he stabbed his egg. Daphne looked at him.
"So I shouldn't mention that you've been on the front page before?" Daphne asked tentatively with her eyebrows raised.
"What?" Harry gaped at Daphne.
"Mostly archive photos of you as a child, one photo really, after that Halloween and then when you began Hogwarts. Stuff such as 'Harry Potter goes to Hogwarts!'" Daphne said as Harry stared at her.
"And that made the front page!" Harry said with a sigh and knitted eyebrows while Daphne rolled her eyes.
"You're really famous Harry, I know you don't seem to like it and that is fine, healthy probably, but it won't go away so you need to deal with it. Don't you get things like fan mail?" Daphne asked Harry who still felt like someone had hit him over the head with a hammer.
Harry glanced at the articles as Daphne read them and they seemed to be fairly accurate about the trial and the fact that Sirius was presumed innocent. One of the paragraphs caught his attention however, since it proclaimed that it would be tricky to find the man, even if they now knew that he had not committed the crimes he had spent time in prison for, even if he had never been given a trial.
"I always knew that a lot of the officials forgot procedure during the war but you get more than a bit afraid that such a high profile case was handled so horribly. Conspiracy theorists are going to have a field day." Daphne said with frown. She shook her head and flipped the page. Harry looked at her in confusion.
"What do you mean?" Harry asked Daphne. The only time Aunt Petunia had mentioned conspiracy theories had been about aliens and government cover-ups about their supposed visits. The term nutcase had been the one Aunt Petunia had used for them.
"There are always people who suspects that the Ministry isn't doing things properly and that they're hiding things. They do have some foundation for it since there is a history of some corruption in the ministry due to people trusting so few after all the wars during the past century. We're a relatively small community, the British wizarding population, so corruption even on a small scale can create bigger ripples. Thing were particularly bad during and after the last war since no one trusted people unknown to them. Terry Boot could probably explain the legal side of it in more detail. I grew up in politics, but he grew up with legal talk every day. I've heard him talk; he's kidding himself if he thinks he's not going to end up a lawyer." Daphne concluded with a little laugh. Harry snorted, he had shared the same thought about Terry's future.
The comments Daphne made about the possible causes of the mess of the non-existent trial stuck with Harry even after they parted after breakfast. Professor McGonagall had said that he was welcome if he wanted to talk to her about it and as far as adults he trusted in this castle McGonagall was pretty high up on that list. While he was becoming closer to Uncle Remus, as Harry reminded himself to call the man, he still didn't know if he wanted to talk about this with him. Sirius Black had been Remus' friend and he had thought that he had betrayed them all. If Harry was confused by it, he couldn't imagine how Remus was feeling.
Harry still hesitated however if he really wanted to bother Professor McGonagall. He had already taken up so much of her time and if he was completely honest with himself he didn't really trust her yet even after the past weeks. He knew she had done so much to help him but he still remembered the fact that she had dismissed him during a couple of crises in Harry's school years.
Deciding to give it a go and see when he could meet with the Tonks' again, Harry steered his feet towards the office for the woman who he had started to get to know these past months. Harry wondered how he could get in touch with the Tonks'. He didn't really want to ask Professor McGonagall for anything else, but he didn't feel like this was something you put into a letter either.
In the end, all of Harry's worries had been for nothing as when he was admitted into Professor McGonagall's office the Tonks', bar Dora, were already there. Harry did a double take and blinked.
"Harry, good I was just about to ask one of the house elves where you were. Due to a certain front page we thought you might need someone to discuss these matters with. Only if you want to of course." Mrs Tonks said, looking at Harry with a small smile on her lips as she stood up. Her arms moved a bit, as if she had been on her way to embrace him but hesitated before she could complete the action.
For the second time that day Harry felt like someone had hit him over the head with a hammer. The thought that someone might truly care for him hadn't really settled yet. The Weasley's didn't count in a way, because he was friends with Ron. These people seemed to care just because of Harry and he wasn't really used to that. Still, Harry put out his arm a bit and with a smile Mrs Tonks hugged him slightly.
Harry thought the hug was nice. It wasn't like Mrs Weasley's hugs where you could almost feel your ribs breaking but he could still feel the embrace. With a slight smile Harry thought he could get used to this hugging thing, perhaps.
After the hug everybody sat down and Harry looked at Professor McGonagall. She seemed to sag a little before she straightened again.
"Harry, I know that you've seen today's newspaper?" McGonagall said and Harry nodded.
"Well as the paper pointed out; things are probably not as easy as we would wish. If Sirius Black is completely cleared he is your legal guardian, which could cause some issues with your placement with Mr and Mrs Tonks. However Mrs Tonks and Mr Black are cousins, so that should hopefully not be a problem." McGonagall peered at him over the rim of her glasses. Harry nodded to show that he was listening.
"Also Harry you should know that it is very possible that Sirius won't be found for some time. After all, he has no reason to trust anyone. Even if he has seen the papers he will most likely not believe it. We do not know what effects Azkaban has had on him. Reports from people who met him and the fact that he managed to escape, suggest that he might be in better conditions that one should after more than a decade in Azkaban." McGonagall said as she kept looking into Harry's eyes. Harry knew this but he wasn't sure what he thought of it.
Harry didn't want to change guardians at the moment, but he of course wanted to know more about his parents. He wasn't sure how to react to a man who he had thought had betrayed Harry's parents. He also wondered how Uncle Remus felt about all of this. A hand was placed on his arm and Harry started as he didn't notice that something else had been said as he spaced out.
"Harry, you will be consulted about all of this. You're thirteen now, a young man who has showed himself capable to handle things maturely. However at the moment, please tell us if Sirius shows up somewhere, because most likely he'll need medical attention. Azkaban isn't a good place for anything but Dementors." Mr Tonks said quietly. Harry nodded. He stood up and looked at the other occupants in the room.
"If you don't mind Professor… How's Hermione?" Harry asked his head of House.
"She's getting better, if you want to you can visit her, but don't stay for a long time. However I want you to promise me to tell one of us if things go badly." Professor McGonagall looked at him with a slight smile. Harry nodded and soon found himself wandering the halls towards the hospital wing.
Harry didn't really know how to approach Hermione, after all he did care for her greatly, but the past weeks had been trying and things had melted down completely. He didn't want to make things worse. At the same time Harry didn't want to fold down and be the one in the only one in the wrong, he knew that while he could have handled things better the fight wasn't due to any failing on his part.
Hermione was sitting in a bed and in an unusual turn, without a book. Her hair was its usual mess, which was reassuring as it was something that was so Hermione for Harry. She didn't look as tired, which made him glad because for the past months, she had been tired and snappish all the time.
Harry walked slowly towards her bed, not knowing what to say or if she would want him here. Once, they had been as close as siblings, and just over six months ago Harry had been in the same situation with Hermione in the hospital wing, but this was quite different.
Harry was of course happy that Hermione wasn't petrified this time around, but he didn't know how to help her really this time either. Telling someone who knew that he was worried, might have been the best idea, but Harry wasn't sure of it. He certainly didn't know how Hermione would feel about it.
Hermione had always been bookish and a bit awkward around social interaction, but Harry had also been more than a bit awkward. The past months however, she hadn't been able to relax at all or read for enjoyment, she had always been stressed and working on an endless list of assignments.
Hermione looked up as Harry came closer, and deciding to use the bravery that placed him in Gryffindor Harry decided to just hop in. He walked up to her and gave her a small smile.
"Hi Hermione. I'm sorry I didn't come by sooner."
AN:/ Originally I had intended to have the discussion between Harry and Hermione here, but after writing and scrapping over and over I gave in. Even the ending line here is not good to me, but honestly I need to try and move forward with this story. My intention is to include the discussion in the next chapter.
I will try and update somewhat regularly, but for many different reasons real life is not kind to my creativity. Anyway thank you for sticking with the story and I'll try and update sooner this time!